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Garcia v. Google, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
786 F.3d 733 (2015)


Facts

Cindy Garcia (plaintiff) was cast for a role in an action film set in Saudi Arabia. She spoke two sentences for her part. The film’s director dubbed over Garcia’s five-second appearance with a voice saying, “Is your Mohammad a child molester?” The director then produced a trailer for an anti-Islam film called Innocence of Muslims that he posted to YouTube. Innocence of Muslims sparked protests and violence in the Middle East and provoked death threats against the film’s directors and actors, including Garcia. Garcia asked Google, Inc. (Google) (defendant) to remove the film from Google’s YouTube platform. Google did not remove the film. Garcia sued Google for copyright infringement and filed motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Google. The district court denied the motion for a preliminary injunction. The court explained that Garcia had failed to show that she would suffer irreparable harm if the video remained on YouTube while Garcia waited for a final ruling because Innocence of Muslims had already been on YouTube for five months. Additionally, the district court found that Garcia was unlikely to prevail on her copyright claim. Garcia appealed. A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, granting Garcia the preliminary injunction and ordering Google to remove the film from YouTube. The Ninth Circuit panel reasoned that death threats constituted irreparable harm, and that Garcia was likely to prevail on her copyright claim. The Ninth Circuit then granted a rehearing by the entire court of appeals en banc.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (McKeown, C.J.)

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Dissent (Kozinski, J.)

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